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Hepatitis B virions with Dane particles

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This digitally-colorized transmission electron micrograph (TEM) revealed the presence of hepatitis B virions. The large round virions are known as Dane particles.

Hepatitis means inflammation of the liver. Toxins, certain drugs, some diseases, heavy alcohol use, and bacterial and viral infections can all cause hepatitis. Hepatitis is also the name of a family of viral infections that affect the liver; the most common types in the United States are hepatitis A, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C.

Hepatitis B is caused by infection with the Hepatitis B virus (HBV). The incubation period from the time of exposure to onset of symptoms is 6 weeks to 6 months. HBV is found in highest concentrations in blood and in lower concentrations in other body fluids (e.g., semen, vaginal secretions, and wound exudates). HBV infection can be self-limited or chronic.

Hepatitis B is a serious disease caused by a virus that attacks the liver. Known as hepatitis B virus (HBV), it can cause lifelong infection, cirrhosis (scarring) of the liver, liver cancer, liver failure, and death.

Hepatitis C is a liver disease caused by the hepatitis C virus (HCV), which is found in the blood of persons who have the disease. HCV is spread by contact with the blood of an infected person.

Hepatitis D is a liver disease caused by the hepatitis D virus (HDV), a defective virus that needs the HBV virus to exist. HDV is found in the blood of persons infected with the virus.

Hepatitis E is a liver disease caused by the hepatitis E virus (HEV), transmitted in much the same way as hepatitis A virus. Hepatitis E, however, does not occur often in the United States.

Credit: Dr. Erskine Palmer, CDC
 
 

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